Importance of Compassion for Peaceful and Happy Living

“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.”

                                                                         –Dalai Lama 

The role of compassion in the happiness of an individual is quite evident from the above-mentioned quote. Whenever we speak of the purpose of human existence, one thing that is very clear is that we want to be happy and satisfied in life. Each one of us desires to be happy and at peace above all other motives and we have the right to the same as well.

Amidst the constant race of chasing materialistic goals and possessions, we tend to ignore the mental aspect. In order to give our mental health its due, we ought to find a way. Experts in the field of mental wellness say that the greatest degree of inner tranquillity and contentment comes from the development of love and compassion. Pondering upon it, all of us would agree with the same.

In 90% of the cases, the more love and care we give, the more we receive it, making us content in every way. Thus, indulging the life skill of compassion can be considered a strong way of taking care of our mental health and seeking calmness and satisfaction.

WHAT IS COMPASSION?

Compassion is defined as the sympathetic consciousness of others distress along with the desire to alleviate it. However, it should not be confused with sympathy or empathy. The simplest meaning of the words sympathy and empathy are ‘I see what you feel’, and  ‘I feel what you feel’ respectively, whereas compassion is a combination of both in addition to the desire to alleviate others’ distress which is missing in the other two concepts.

Taking daily life examples, anybody who has ever helped an old man cross the road or fostered a hungry kid or animal knows what amount of happiness such acts of kindness provide. These acts are what we call compassion. Needless to say that the feeling it provides is rare and soothing, unlike any other acts we do. 

IMPORTANCE AND BENEFITS OF BEING COMPASSIONATE

We have heard the saying that a single act of kindness goes a long way. Most of us would also agree with the same. Even the simplest of acts done by someone can help us do things we would not do otherwise. In return, we express our gratitude giving both the giver and the receiver the gift of happiness and peace, thus helping in fulfilling the very purpose of human existence. 

The necessity of compassion as a life skill cannot be neglected for the mental wellness of an individual. With the growing importance of mental wellness these days, we know what effect poor mental health has on other aspects of life including physical health. So, in order to sustain overall well-being, we ought to focus on the most important aspect, that is mental health by following the way of compassion.

English poet William Wordsworth’s poem ‘Alice fell, or Poverty’ also points towards the power of compassion by telling how a small act of kindness lifted the spirit of a distressed orphan girl and for a while made her forget her plight.

Apart from this, researchers and experts have also mentioned several other benefits of compassion, some of which are:

  • It  brings a feeling of fulfillment, happiness, and peace
  • It lowers stress and depression
  • It normalises blood pressure 
  • It enables reconciliation
  • It strengthens the immune system
  • It  enlarges an individual’s perspective and identity
  • It  contributes to the well-being of mankind as a whole.

HOW CAN WE IMBIBE COMPASSION IN OUR LIVES?

One of the biggest benefits of compassion is that it is contagious, meaning that the more we practice it, the more it will spread. Imagine, how beautiful it would be to live in a world full of kind people. However, to do so, the least we can do is to start by thyselves. Change begins from within hence, once we learn the art of compassion then only can we teach others the same.

The question that arises here is how can we do this? Here are some key points:

  • By teaching the importance of kindness to children at school as well as at home
  • By learning to be generous and respectful towards everyone
  • By making compassion a part of our daily routine by thinking about it before we sleep
  • By learning to empathize
  • By becoming a role model of compassion for others
  • By switching to an optimistic approach
  • By inculcating patience towards negative responses

However, there’s a very thin line between getting misused and being selfless. Showing compassion should not mean being mistreated by others. One should know the difference and acknowledge it.

In the end, to summarize it, 

Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive.

Dalai Lama XIV

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